How the US Made Somalia a Terrorist Haven

Coalition overthrown, country is now run by al-Qaeda allies
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2008 9:35 AM CST
The Somali militia Al-Shabab during exercises at their military training camp outside Mogadishu. Islamic fighters now control most of southern and central Somalia.   (AP Photo, File)
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(Newser) – Iraq and Afghanistan loom largest among the fiascos undertaken in the name of a "war on terror," Martin Fletcher writes in the Times of London, but there has been a third front in that offensive: Somalia. After 15 years of anarchy, the US helped destroy the country's first ever stable government, paving the way for "virulently anti-Western jihadists" who are now taking over. Fletcher calls it the "forgotten debacle" that has provided al-Qaeda with a new base.

Somalia knew peace briefly in 2006 under the so-called Islamic Courts movement, an imperfect but stable coalition. While the EU favored engagement, the US decided they were a new Taliban—and bankrolled the Ethiopian invasion that imposed a reviled government of former warlords. Now Somalia is controlled by the Shabab, a radical, woman-hating insurgency movement that openly praises al-Qaeda: "hardly a resounding triumph for the War on Terror."